8.09.2007

Milestones

In previous posts, I’ve described what it’s like when Jules and I get together, and last night was another one of those occasions.

In fact, she’s upstairs sleeping in my guest bedroom as I type. Max and I refer to our top-floor suite as “Jules’ room” because she is by far our most frequent guest and may have used it more than we have. I’m not complaining. When I wake up with a hangover and Jules is still around it can mean only one thing: we had another great night.

Two empty bottles, remnants of a South African cabernet pinotage and an Argentinean malbec, provided fuel for our fodder. With Jules and me, it doesn’t take much to entertain. Conversation flowed, as always, and the topic at hand was...what else? Boys.

Jules finds herself in another relationship with someone who is recently separated. I say “another” because this is the third straight time she has dated a man just out of marriage. But, in fairness to Jules, the mid 30-something dating pool has plenty of swimmers on their second lap around. In fact, it’s a rare occasion when an age appropriate man hasn’t been married before.

Still, being the first woman after a man’s ex-wife isn’t an enviable position. Often she becomes the “transition girl,” or the woman the man dates before he’s emotionally ready to date.

“I don’t want to be that girl again!” Jules moans.

And who could blame her? When her last boyfriend, Job, ended their 6-month relationship with the “I just got out of a marriage and not ready for anything serious” line, Jules took it pretty hard. She’s been there, done that. And it looks like she’s doing it again.

“Because it worked so well for you in the past?” I ask sarcastically, knowing full well she wouldn’t dare waste a good wine by throwing the malbec at me.

“Call me crazy,” she replied. “But I can’t help but think there’s potential with Will. He’s in a much healthier place than Job.”

I’m not going to question Jules’ judgment. She’s a bright woman with her act together in many ways. But what I do know is once Jules and a man cross a certain line, her focus completely narrows on the man, even when she knows he’s not making himself wholly available to her. As a damaging result, she no longer puts herself in a position to meet other eligible men.

Jules thinks she’s just being “old fashioned,” but I call it a mistake.

“So, what am I suppose to do?” Jules asks this as a rhetorical question, but I answer it anyway.

“If you want to pursue a relationship with Will, go ahead. But at least set a few unspoken mile markers for him to meet.”

“Mile markers?” she asks.

“These markers are a sign that the relationship is progressing. If he meets the marker, you proceed. If he doesn’t, you can still proceed, but you also begin to open yourself to date other people.”

Maybe it was all the wine, but Jules felt my proposal was fair.

I then pulled out eight little sticky notes, lining them up on the table. On average it takes divorced men two years to remarry, so I decided Will should get 8 markers representing 3 months of time.

Jules decided on the goals. These were the signs of progress she would minimally expect to happen every 3 months. Remember, if these things don’t happen, Jules must take it as a sign that it is time to distance herself from Will.

And just because Jules reads this blog on occasion, I’ve decided to post her goals. It’s not as if we wrote these markers in blood, but I do want her to think about them from time to time as she and Will move forward.

Tell me if you think we were being unreasonable. Your comments as always are welcomed, but do be kind. :-)

After 3 months (of regularly dating): Jules and Will should have an agreement not to be dating other people

6 months: They should have taken a trip together

9 months: They should be regularly spending time with each other’s friends

12 months: He should have used the “L” word.

15 months: She should have met his child.

18 months: He should have introduced her to his family.

21 months: They should be talking about a future together.

24 months: More than talking, they should be taking concrete steps to solidify a future together.

6 comments:

utenzi said...

I like that picture of you and Max on the sidebar, Diane. Pretty soon you'll really be there!

As for Jules, while every case is different I'd say that all those goals are quite reasonable. Some of them I'd have stepped up quite a bit. The introductions to child and family, to my way of thinking, should happen in the first 6 months--9 months at the outside--or she should be looking elsewhere. But maybe she's in no hurry for those things...

Jamy said...

I'm with utenzi. The milestones seem reasonable, but I'd move family and kid up sooner.

These are really very modest and reasonable, to my way of thinking.

running42k said...

The milestones pass the smell test.

Anonymous said...

I think the goals are awesome. And I was the rebound girl for the guy I'm about to marry -- there's no reason it won't happen for Jules too, assuming he's the right guy and he's ready. My guy freaked out once after about 4 months of dating and broke up with me. It was among the most painful 21 hours of my life before he called and said he'd be crazy to let me go because the calendar said it was too soon to find someone new. I met his son within 5 months though and I'd agree the deadline set for Jules to meet his kid is too far out.

I think it's hard to be in love at 12 months if you haven't even met that person's child, who should be one of the most important people in his life, even if he's the non-custodial parent. Hopefully the child is important to him -- if the child isn't part of his life, I think that's a bad sign about his readiness to get over his marriage. If he is ready to move on from the marriage, he should be able to view the child as separate from the ex and be ready for an independent relationship with the child, and should be involving Jules in that to make sure it works before he says he loves her. If she hates the child or something (not that she would, of course, just making a point) and they really don't get along, hopefully he'll think carefully about whether that can be love.

AmyD said...

I personally think you're being a little too easy on the guy... ;o)

Tonya Allison said...

I think that is excellent advice!! Although the milestones are a bit generous. It is odd she is attracted to men who tend to be unavailable. I wonder if deep down maybe Jules isn't really ready for a long-term serious relationship herself? Whatever the case, she is a fabulous girl and she is very lucky to have a great friend like you!